Small Bites

Tupelo Honey cuts the ribbon

Tupelo Honey Cafe South recently opened at 1829 Hendersonville Road. At a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week, Cafe owner Steve Frabitore stressed that the eatery was designed, built and decorated utilizing the deep well of talent here in the Asheville area. Frabitore even passed out a resource guide to attendees highlighting the work of the numerous local architects, designers and other skilled hands who made it all come together.

Sustainable style: The bar at Posana Cafe is made of Kirei board, a renewable green-building material — one of the features that helped the eatery earn a special green certification. Photo by Jonathan Welch

For starters, the renewal of the building was tackled by Patti Glazer, the architect responsible for many notable restoration and renovation projects like Echo Mountain Recording Studios and the Lobster Trap. Kathryn Long of Ambiance Interiors was responsible for the interior design, and Doug Stratton of Votiv Architectural Design handled the lighting. What this design team has wrought at Tupelo Honey's south-Asheville location is impressive, to say the least.

"We have worked very hard to transfer the eclecticism, color and fun synonymous with the original location," Frabitore said in a recent press release. "The new restaurant is filled with Southern folk art, recycled windows and screen doors and commissioned works by local artists and artisans. We're also very proud of the fact we've created over 100 local jobs in the process."

Of course, the restaurant also uses plenty of local meats and produce in its kitchen, just like in the original — and still thriving — location downtown. If the food served at the ribbon cutting was of any indication, the chefs on the south side are holding true to Tupelo Honey's reputation for serving delicious nouveau-southern cuisine.

For more information about Tupelo Honey, visit www.tupelohoney.com

The Neo Cantina mystery, solved

Asheville was all a-Twitter with news that La Paz, the long-standing Biltmore Village Mexican eatery, had quite suddenly closed its doors last month. Rumors flew back and forth among Twitter users, and folks even called the La Paz headquarters, but information was quite difficult to come by.

Local blogger and Xpress staffer Jason Sandford had this to say on his Ashvegas blog: "I heard that Neo Cantina is up and running. That's the new name for the old La Paz. The sudden changeover caught more than a few fans of the Mexican joint down in Biltmore Village by surprise, but it appears Neo Cantina is chugging right along.

I'm getting reports that the food is still perfectly delicious, although the La Paz staff may have taken all their recipes with them when they bolted. Neo Cantina plans to feature a roof garden, bio-degradable to-go boxes, and more food from local farms. Oh, and there's a tortilla machine.

That's all I've got. What about you?"

Well, Xpress recently took a quick jaunt down to Neo to take a peek. We spoke with Stephanie Wood, who bartends at the restaurant. What Neo is serving, says Wood are "familiar favorites with a new twist — it's the same menu, but with upgrades." What's the twist? As Sanford says, the restaurant has indeed gone greener, and intends to work more closely with local farmers to ensure the food is of higher quality. Mystery solved.
For more information on Neo Cantina, call 505-7682.

Posana Café scores green-restaurant status

Posana Café in downtown Asheville was recently named the only 2-Star Certified Green Restaurant in North Carolina. "We believe that we had to go beyond just 'saying' that we were committed to the environment, and really put ourselves to the test," says co-owner Martha Pollay. The certification was awarded by the Green Restaurant Association, a nonprofit that specializes in helping restaurants become more environmentally sustainable.

It took a village: Numerous local artisans helped make Tupelo Honey Cafe South as pleasing to the eye as the food is to the palate. Here, architect Patti Glazer joins owner Steve Frabitore at the cafe's recent grand opening. Photo by Jon Elliston

"We worked intently to meet the GRA's requirements," says Posana Café Executive Chef (and co-owner) Peter Pollay. "We're proud of what we accomplished and we will continue to look for new ways to evolve. We want the quality of our role as conscientious members of the Asheville community to match the quality of our food."
Posana began working toward GRA certification in 2009. "We decided from the start that we wanted to reduce our impact on the environment," Peter explains, "and now, when we show our 'Green Restaurant' certification to our customers, they'll understand that we are willing to hold ourselves accountable to a totally objective institution that can monitor how well we achieve our goals."
Posana incorporated environmentally sound materials and eco-friendly building procedures into remodeling the restaurant for its grand opening in May of 2009, utilizing materials such as sorghum stalk in their bar top and other sustainable products like Paperstone, Icestone and Torzo on other surfaces. The carpeting for the restaurant is made from a minimum of 25 percent recycled material, and the walls are painted with low-VOC paint, according to Martha Pollay. GRA statistics suggest that the average restaurant throws away 100,000 pounds of garbage each year, but Posana uses no Styrofoam and has a thorough composting and recycling program.
Posana was also recognized for: eliminating bottled water by installing state-of-the-art water filters; recycling waste grease to be made into biodiesel; installing energy-efficient equipment and water-conserving faucet aerators; sourcing to-go utensils and cups made from compostable materials; and flooring made from rapidly renewable resources
For more information on Posana, visit www.posanacafe.com or call 505-3969.

Food news on Twitter this week

To stay in the know about the latest in area food and drink news, follow Xpress food-centric handle, @MXeat, on the social-networking program Twitter. And search the hashtag #avleat for even more. Here's some of the news and views that surfaced on Twitter this week:
• Trying to get another beer festival started for June 5th downtown Asheville. (via @Brewgrass)
• Paula Deen will open new restaurant at Harrah's Cherokee Casino in late 2010. (via @TheSylvaHerald)
• They're liking Vinnie's: RT @blueh2oseafood: Yes! RT @hopicecream:..My 1st meal…lived up to all of compliments I've heard (via @fobes)
• They may not be on Twitter, but, man, Nona Mia is good. (via @hopicecream)
• WNC (Kinston) brewery launches Thu 3/11 w/Asheville tasting: Mother Earth Brewing (via @ BlogAsheville)
• At the Admiral last night: 2 crazy desserts: bacon pot de creme and foie gras with Krispy Kreme bread pudding. (via @MXeat)
• All of the Equal Exchange coffee is on sale for $7.99/pound @ the [French Broad Food] Co-op thru March! (via @alli_marshall).

Send your food news to food@mountainx.com.

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